CBSO Beethoven, Berlioz review


CBSO at Symphony Hall ★★★★★

Even a moment of youthful over-impetuosity could not mar an amazing performance by the twenty-year-old Swedish violinist Daniel Lozakovich. Approaching the final fervid minutes of Beethoven's violin concerto, the bow shot out of his hand onto the platform. A swift lunge and grab later he was back in business. Just before this he had played Fritz Kreisler's cadenza with precision, grace – qualities not always heard together – and burnished beauty of tone with not a blur, blemish or smudge. All fiddlers can play pianissimo but few with Lozakovich's full ripe tone while truly projecting (not attenuating) the sound with upmost brilliance. In the Larghetto either the soloist or conductor Fabien Gabel (or both) applied the erroneous equation Beauty + Profundity = Very Slow. It was self-indulgent but redeemed by moments of magic as when Lozakovich, stretched on tip-toe as if trying to levitate, spun out a "silver chain of sound, of many links without a break", like Meredith's lark ascending.

In the Symphonie fantastique Gabel captured the ball's hallucinatory, vertiginous gaiety with the CBSO strings whirling the waltzers manically as the music starts to sound like an out of control carousel braking just in time. Ideal too was the country scene with Rachael Pankhurst's cor anglais calling desolately to the off-stage oboe while the timpani, growled, rumbled and rattled menacingly. The parping tubas and bells tolling the Dies Irae were chilling and the Witch's Sabbath triumphantly, madly hallucinogenic with Joanna Patton's shrieking clarinet turning the beloved's idée fixe theme from daydream to nightmare

Norman Stinchcombe

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